"Thought is supplied to us by food; if the food is pure our thoughts will also be pure." ~Swami Vibhooti Saraswati
Food can be complicated, so I keep it simple: I do my best to eat things that don't come from a box and that are still alive. I do this as often as possible. I don't find this too difficult. In fact, I really enjoy the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. I also love juicing and have found that it has reduced my cravings for the kinds of food that masquerade as the real fulfilling nutrients my body really needs.
After a summer gathering with lots of "party food" and leftovers in the fridge, my relationship to food momentarily shifted. I found myself eating food because it tasted good. I ate when I wasn't hungry. I didn't discriminate much. The impetus to eat wasn't driven by my quest for physical, mental, or spiritual health. Instead, I was eating from my emotions. Thankfully, I was able to identify and categorize my pattern of unconscious consumption quite easily because I spent many years eating in haste. It was familiar and interesting, not troubling. However, what I did find it disturbing was how this kind of eating lead to heavy and melancholy mornings, lack of motivation, and, the feeling of sometimes being sad or depressed. Food had become a barrier between me and my state of happiness –– or Ananda if you want the Sanskirt term.
Food is very powerful.
Yoga is not a dogmatic practice. It doesn't tell you what you can or can't do. It's more of a tireless number of suggestions to try. But these suggestions are not soundbites. They are methods that manifest into a life worth living. Sometimes it takes days, months, years (some say lifetimes) of practice. But don't let that last thought discourage you, because the formula can be easy: all you have to do is unroll your mat, or sit down in contemplation to practice.
After sixteen years of practice, I guess I spend more time considering if I'm hungry, rather than just eating. In other words, I am able to act in accordance with my desire for good health and happiness. That's a sign that the boundary between my practice and my lifestyle is disappearing. Consider taking a step back from what you eat and instead, spend time considering how you eat. Let it unfold like the yoga postures you do when you come to your mat. Be curious, rather than judgmental. Loose the expectations, and build a greater awareness. Let your choice of food be a chance for discovery. Keep in mind, nothing is permanent.
Use the yoga tools to unearth the perfection inside of you. Lay down your mat, practice, and let the rest take care of itself.